Spent a night in Charleston last summer. Disappointed with our dinner at Husk, but that might have just been me. Prior to dinner we had oysters and martinis at The Ordinary. Very impressed and would like to try that for dinner next time. Enjoyed a very nice brunch the next morning at Hominy Grill.
Had dinner at Serpico on our one night in Philly last summer. It was one of the best meals of our East Coast road trip. I'm also from LA (now in SF) and loved the Asian influences in many of the dishes.
Just got back from a road trip from Philly to Orlando with my 13yo son. I found a lot of great dining advice here in preparing for our trip, so in the spirt of paying back, thought I'd list a few of our experiences.
NOTE: not sure of the posting etiquette of a post spanning multiple regions. Should I cross-post in each applicable region, or split up my post by region and post each separately?
Sonny's Famous Cheese Steaks: our first ever cheesesteaks, but these, with wiz and onions, were very good.
Franklin Fountain: the period costumes of the employees should have been a clue. The ice cream was store-bought in quality and the egg creams (both NY and Philly) were so tasteless that we threw them away half-finished. Total waste of time and money.
Shake Shack: burgers were just okay, no comparison with In-and-Out. Shakes were very good (which I guess is why it's not called Burger Shack)
The Partisan: Met my cousin and her family for dinner. The food and service combined for an outstanding dinner. Had: 120 Day Dry Aged Carpaccio, Radishes+Sugar Snaps, Squid Ink Bucatini, Baked Cilantro Paccheri, Rotissi-Fried Chicken, Bone-in Ribeye, and several desserts I can't recall. All the food was great. The ribeye was possibly the best I've ever had. Best fried chicken of the trip. (In case anyone cares, took a 2001 SQN Midnight Oil which was drinking wonderfully)
Husk: biggest disappointment of the trip. Had the lettuce-wrapped pork ears (great flavors, but the texture of the densely fried ears was too great a contrast to the soft lettuce leaves), shishito peppers (good flavors, but thought the limp peppers would have been better crisped), fire-roasted oysters (very good, best dish of the night), slow smoked ribs (the meat was good, but thought the flavor of the sauce clashed with the char), quail (did not like the sauce at all, found it had a bitter, off-flavor that did not work with the quail. Also thought the cauliflower was a poor pairing). The service of the restaurant was good, the setting nice, everything was prepared properly (I think). Perhaps my tastes just don't line up with the chef here.
Hominy Grill: great brunch: She Crab Soup, Biscuit & Gravy, Shrimp & Grits, Charleston Nasty Biscuit. Wished every town had a place like this.
Leopold's Ice Cream - good, but not worth the 30m wait. As was aptly put by another on this board, if you've already had great ice cream, it won't rock your world
BBQ (in order of visits, not on same day. Unless otherwise noted, just talking about the bbq sandwich):
Allen & Sons (NC): not bad, but nothing special. Not sure what happened here, were we still in a post-Skylight Inn daze?
Scott's (SC): very very good. Possibly the best vinegar-pepper sauce we had, but preferred the meat at Skylight Inn. Huge portions, loved the assemble-your-own-sandwich process.
Sweatman's (SC): had the buffet. Not impressed by the ribs or chicken. The light BBQ was good with the mustard sauce. The dark BBQ was very very good.
Fiery Ron's (SC, recommended to us by the bartender at The Original): not bad for a mainstream commercial place. Meat was moist and flavorful, but lacking in smoke. Provided 5 types of sauces (yellow mustard, vinegar-pepper, mild, regular and hot tomato-based).
Bubba Gump (City Walk): loud, garish, big portions of fried food. Sad that this is what the many tourists here take home as their impression of American food. My son had the some sort of fried food combo, I had the gumbo which wasn't horrible.
Leaky Cauldron (Diagon Alley): had breakfast and dinner here. The food quality is irrelevant, as the experience of eating in the world of Harry Potter trumps every other consideration. Universal nailed this folks and if you or your kids have any interest in Harry Potter, you are morally obligated to go to Diagon Alley. That said, the food here is not too pricey and better than expected in quality. Most important, it's FUN.
Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour (Diagon Alley): Butter Beer Ice Cream. Nuff said.
Boatwright's Dinig Hall (Port Orleans Riverside): huge portions, food decent but overpriced. Cajun-seasoned Crawfish Bites, Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Andouille-crusted Catfish, Crawfish Ètouffée
Bongos Cuban Cafe Express (Downtown Disney): if you arrive at Downtown Disney at 8p without reservations at the height of the summer crush like we did, you might want to spare yourself the agony of forcing your way through the crowds (remember it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity out) only to be turned away at restaurant after restaurant, and go straight to this take-out window attached to the Bongos Cuban Cafe. We just ordered cubano sandwiches, a smoothie and an iced cubano coffee, and while we are no experts, found the sandwiches to be delicious. Plus it's a great spot. Downtown Disney was jumping the night we were there with street performers and musicians all around us. A nice way to spend a hot summer night.
I'm happy to follow up if anyone has any questions.
Thank you for your suggestion, that look's good too.
Thank you both very much for your suggestions. I knew that August would not be ideal from an eating standpoint, but unfortunately it was either August or wait for another year.
After looking over the restaurants, I think All'Antico Ristoro dei Cambi is our best bet for bistecca fiorentina. Grazie!
My 12yo son and I will be in Florence for 3 days August 8-11. I had been looking forward to going to Sostanza for their bistecca fiorentina and petti di pollo en burro, but unfortunately they will be closed during our stay. Can anyone recommend a suitable replacement? Thanks in advance.